The Journal of African History

Research Article

THE ENEMY WITHIN: LOYALISTS AND THE WAR AGAINST MAU MAU IN KENYA*

DANIEL BRANCHa1

a1 University of Exeter

ABSTRACT

Between 1952 and 1960, the British colonial government of Kenya waged a violent counter-insurgency campaign against the Mau Mau rebels. In this effort the regime was assisted by collaborators, known as loyalists, drawn from the same communities as the insurgents. Based primarily on new archival sources, this article sets out the history of loyalism, stresses the ambiguity of allegiances during the conflict and argues that loyalism was a product of the same intellectual debates that had spawned the Mau Mau insurgency. The article concludes by stressing the significance for postcolonial Kenya of this history.

Key Words:

  • Kenya;
  • Mau Mau;
  • conflict;
  • decolonization

Footnotes

* I wish to thank David Anderson, John Lonsdale, Paul Ocobock, Marilyn Young and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper. The article was prepared while the author was a fellow of the Program for Order, Conflict and Violence at Yale and is based on research supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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